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TV Goes Social: The Rise of the Second Screen

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Our smartphones have brought the power of the Internet to our fingertips, and TV knows that we’re engaging with content on our phones and other mobile devices while watching their programming. We use our devices (smartphones/tablets) to find information related to the program we’re watching, connect with other viewers, and browse the web during advertisements. This distraction, or multitasking, has brought about the trend of the “second screen,” and its drastically changing the way we view television.

Roughly 4 in 5 tablet or smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV, and the amount of people doing this will only increase as the popularity of mobile devices continues to surge. Apple came out with the iPad Mini just a few weeks ago, making it even more affordable to own a tablet.

So, what are people doing while watching TV with two screens? They’re browsing the web, emailing, use social media while watching, and shopping. They’ll interact with other fans on Facebook and Twitter, browse Amazon for a new gadget, buy that cute DIY shirt they saw on Etsy, and browse the Internet to escape the terrible advertisements played over and over during a single episode.

The Internet can be a powerful distractor when it comes to fighting for people’s attention. The producers of TV shows should start looking into creating original content that will captivate the audience of their show. Viewers are going elsewhere because they feel there’s something more interesting out there than commercials. Giving them a place to go on the web while also staying connected with the show will help stop viewers from wandering off.

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